Charles Edmund Thomas

Charles Edmund Thomas

Tuesday, March 19th, 1957 - Saturday, October 10th, 2020
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THOMAS, Maj (Ret) Charles Edmund, CD, MA, LLM

Born at Colchester, Essex, on 19 March 1957; immigrated to Canada with his family in 1959; married at Ottawa, Ontario, on 10 October 1998; died unexpectedly at the Stratford General Hospital in Stratford, Ontario, on 10 October 2020.

Predeceased by his parents, the Rev Fr William Morley House Thomas and Joyce Rose (Morgan) Thomas, and his elder brother, Stephen Gregory Thomas. Survived by his wife, Philippa Charmion Chaplin-Thomas; his sisters Mary Cecilia Travis (Terrance) of North Buxton, Ontario, and Madeleine Angela Duxbury (David) of Lasalle, Ontario; his brother, Guy Vincent Thomas (Jan Saul) of Stratford; five nephews and nieces; nine great-nephews and great-nieces; and many, many friends.

With 30 years of service in the Canadian Forces as a legal officer, Edmund served with the Canadian garrison at Lahr, West Germany (1988–1991), and deployed on operations to Bosnia (1995), Haiti (1997) and Afghanistan (2008). Over the last 20 years of his military career, Edmund specialized in defence at court martial, a vocation that took him to Regular Force and Reserve units all over Canada and some overseas.

After retirement from the army, he practised criminal law with Legal Aid Ontario and volunteered for the Association for the Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (Innocence Canada). At the time of his death, he was also studying for a doctorate in law at the University of Western Ontario and brushing up his German language skills.

Edmund took great pleasure in friendship, which he pursued in physical fitness activities, entertaining at home, foreign travel, and most particularly through enjoyment of music. He loved hiking and camping, even in the rain. At dinner parties, he was the enthusiastic host reaching across the table to fill a guest’s glass. His fine singing voice did justice to an extensive repertoire of murder ballads and selections learned from Johnny Cash. Combining a kind heart with firm morality and razor wit, he was the best of companions.

The funeral will be held at St. James’s Anglican Church in Stratford, at two o’clock on Friday, 16 October 2020. Interment will be at the National Military Cemetery in Ottawa when the pandemic eases and travel is safe again.

In lieu of flowers, the family would be grateful for memorial donations to Innocence Canada, the Humane Society, and food-security organizations. Donations may be made through Rutherford Cremation & Funeral Services (James A. Rutherford Funeral Home) by calling 519-271-5062.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Friday, October 16th, 2020 | 2:00pm
    Friday, October 16th, 2020 2:00pm
    St. James's Anglican Church
    41 Mornington Street
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    It is required that everyone in attendance wear a mask and practice social distanciing. The funeral home and the church staff will aid in this. The church will also require names and phone numbers from attendees in order to carry out contact tracing due to the pandemic. The interment will take place at a later date in the National Military Cemetery in Ottawa.
    Lorne Mitchell


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Madeleine and David sent flowers to the family of Charles Edmund Thomas.
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Major General (ret’d) Blaise Cathcart,QC

Posted at 08:10am
Dear Charmion and Thomas Family,
It was with much sadness that I learned of Edmund’s recent and untimely passing. I offer my sincere condolences. I first met Edmund in Lahr, Germany when I was a young Captain doing my first court martial. We spent the next 25 years together as friends and colleagues. I alway had the highest respect for Edmund’s loyalty, professionalism and determination. He was a skilled legal officer who always worked his hardest whether in support of the CAF or his many clients as defence counsel. I also had the honour and privilege of attending Edmund and Charmion’s wedding in Ottawa. It was indeed a memorable event with Edmund’s voice, humour and love for Charmion on full display. I suspect these are dark days for you and the family. However, I know that you have a ton of great memories of Edmund to brighten any such dark moments. Edmund was a unique person and legal offcier. I thank him for his service and many sacrifices for the Office of the JAG, the CAF, Canada and the rule of law.. He left us far too early and will be missed. His spirit lives on. The Defense can now rest. Fiat Justitia (Let Justice Prevail). Major-General (ret’d) Blaise Cathcart,QC, former JAG.

Kate McDermott

Posted at 02:56pm
I have fond memories of times spent with Edmund in Lahr, Germany - Volksmarches and dining in local Gasthofs immediately come to mind, and then later in Ottawa.
I am saddened to read of his untimely death and my thoughts and condolences go to Charmion and Edmund's family.
Kate McDermott

Kim Carter

Posted at 08:47pm
I was deeply saddened to learn of Edmund's death. I first met him in high school in Watford, Ontario when he was 13 and joined our yearbook staff. After high school I did not see him again until he joined the legal branch of the Canadian Forces where we served together until 2006. Edmund was a gentleman in every sense of the word. He had a quick mind, a ready wit, a lovely singing voice, and a strong commitment to doing what was right. Bon Voyage Edmund.
Colonel (retired) Kim Carter

S Leonard

Posted at 10:09pm
Edmund brought me along to Wainwright for my first court martial. What an adventure we had. He gave me the confidence to work in criminal law and was a wonderful mentor and friend. I will cherish my memories of him. My deepest condolences to Charmion and his family.

Cdr (ret’d) Shaina Leonard

Madeleine and David

Posted at 07:01pm
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